Electronic Cigarette Is Also a Bluetooth Headset for Your Phone.

Who wants to be puffing on an electronic cigarette and holding a cell phone to their head at the same time? What are we? A bunch of savages?Bluetooth Cigarette

Who wants to be puffing on an electronic cigarette and holding a cell phone to their head at the same time? What are we? A bunch of savages?

Thankfully, our long, international nightmare is over. For 80 Euro (roughly $110), you can get the Supersmoker Bluetooth, which is billed as an e-cigarette “that can be used to make calls and receive via Bluetooth and play music via the built-in microphone!”

If there’s a problem with this idea – and that’s a big if – it’s that you have to hold the cigarette against your head while you’re talking on it. That makes it hard-to-impossible to smoke it at the same time. Perhaps that’s nothing a short length of hose can’t fix, though.

Read more: FINALLY: Electronic Cigarette Is Also a Bluetooth Headset for Your Phone | TIME.com http://techland.time.com/2014/02/19/finally-electronic-cigarette-is-also-a-bluetooth-headset-for-your-phone/#ixzz2tsTjsOnU

Researchers demonstrate holographic memory device.

A team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and Russian Academy of Science have demonstrated a new type of holographic memory device that could provide unprecedented data storage capacity and data processing capabilities in electronic devices.

The new type of  uses  – a collective oscillation of spins in magnetic materials – instead of the optical beams. Spin waves are advantageous because spin wave devices are compatible with the conventional electronic devices and may operate at a much shorter wavelength than optical devices, allowing for smaller  that have greater storage capacity.
Experimental results obtained by the team show it is feasible to apply holographic techniques developed in optics to magnetic structures to create a magnonic holographic memory device. The research combines the advantages of the  with the wave-based information transfer.

“The results open a new field of research, which may have tremendous impact on the development of new logic and memory devices,” said Alexander Khitun, the lead researcher, who is a research professor at UC Riverside.

Holography is a technique based on the wave nature of light which allows the use of wave interference between the object beam and the coherent background. It is commonly associated with images being made from light, such as on driver’s licenses or paper currency. However, this is only a narrow field of holography.

The first holograms were designed in the last 1940s for use with electron microscopes. A decade later, with the advent of the laser, optical holographic images were popularized. Since, other fields have significantly advanced by using wave interference to produce holograms, including acoustic holograms used in seismic applications and microwave holography used in radar systems.

Holography has been also recognized as a future data storing technology with unprecedented  capacity and ability to write and read a large number of data in a highly parallel manner.

Khitun has been working for more than nine years to develop logic device exploiting spin waves. Most of his initial research was focused on the development of spin wave-based logic circuits similar to the ones currently used in the computers.

A critical moment occurred last year when he decided the device didn’t need to replace the computer’s electronic circuits. Instead, the device would complement the circuits, or help them accomplish certain tasks, such as image recognition, speech recognition and .

The experiments outlined in the paper were conducted using a 2-bit magnonic holographic memory prototype device. A pair of magnets, which represent the memory elements, were aligned in different positions on the magnetic waveguides.

Spin waves propagating through the waveguides are affected by the magnetic field produced by the magnets. When spin waves interference was applied in the experiments, a clear picture was produced and the researchers could recognize the magnetic states of the magnets. All experiments were done at room temperature.

Apple looking beyond iWatch to fitness-tracking earphones

Apple’s recent patents go beyond the expected iWatch to track fitness and health data directly from your ears.

  • Apple fitness-tracking earphone
Apple has won a patent for health, activity and fitness-tracking earphones and headphones. Photograph: Apple/USPTO

Will Apple’s next big thing be a pair of headphones for monitoring your heart rate and tracking your activity, fitness and health?

Apple has patented designs for earphones and headphones that are capable of monitoring a wearer’s movements and vital signs through a series of embedded sensors.

The patent describes both headphones and earphones fitted with accelerometers like those in smartphones for detecting motion, as well as temperature, perspiration and heart-rate sensors for monitoring a user’s activity, fitness and other statistics.

Apple filed the patent in 2007 for a “sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets”, which was granted on Tuesday, indicating that Apple has been investigating the possibility of integrated health monitors for at least six years.

The patent also details the possibility of using motion detection to activate gestures such as changing track or pausing and playing music through the headphones.

Activity tracking in the ears or on the wrist

Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, recently confirmed that promised future “product categories” were still on track saying: “Yes. Absolutely. No Change,” when asked during an earnings call last month, stoking expectations of an Apple smartwatch, which is also expected to have a significant role in health and fitness monitoring.

Apple fitness-tracking headphones
Apple’s new patent also specified headphones as well as earphones for tracking fitness and health. Photograph: Apple/USPTO

“We’re working on things you can’t see today. We have zero issue coming up with things that we want to do that we think we can disrupt in a major way,” Cook said. “The challenge is always to focus to the very few that deserve all of our energy.”

In December 2013 Apple reportedly met with senior agents of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory body charged with overseeing food safety, sales of medication and the approval of medical devices in the US.

The meeting involved Michael O’Reilly, previously the chief medical officer of a medical sensor company called Masimo, who joined Apple last year, as well as Bakul Patel, a senior policy adviser who drafted the FDA’s mobile medical app guidance and plays a role in medical gadget approval.

Feeding ‘Healthbook’

It is clear that Apple is looking at medical applications for its apps and hardware at the very least. Health and fitness tracking could be one of the primary new focuses for Apple’s next mobile software update. Apple news site 9to5Mac claimed that Apple was developing a new “Healthbook” app to collect and store data on fitness activities, including steps taken, calories burned, and distance walked.

The Healthbook app was said to target medical and health data, tracking a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well as other blood-related statistics like glucose levels, something a pair of sensor-packed earphones could link into as well as a smartwatch.

Apple already holds patents for the collection of sensory information, including blood-pressure monitoring, but it is unclear whether that technology is mature enough to build into a smartwatch or earphone-like device.

“The whole sensor field is going to explode,” said Tim Cook in an interview in 2013. “It’s a little all over the place right now. With the arc of time, it will become clearer.”

LG announced its own fitness tracking earphones capable of monitoring the wearer’s heart rate, feeding information to the Korean company’s Lifeband smart wrist-borne fitness tracker. It is unknown what impact this patent award to Apple will have on LG’s efforts.

Google Glass advice: how to avoid being a glasshole.

Google’s smartglass guidelines for early adopters: stop being creepy, don’t be rude, and don’t try to read War and Peace

  • Google Glass wearing advice
Google explains how to not be a ‘glasshole’ wearing the company’s pioneering smart glasses. Photograph: Pawel Supernak/EPA

Google has given some official advice on what to do and perhaps more importantly, what not to do, while wearing the company’s Google Glass smartglasses to avoid being a “glasshole”.

Early adopters of Glass, derogatorily called “glassholes”, have come under fire for using it in socially unacceptable conditions where mobile phones aren’t allowed, for being creepy filming people without their permission and for being rude, staring off into the distance for long periods of time.

Glass has gone far beyond the confines of Google employees with its extended “Explorer” early adopter programme. As Google states, it is definitely in the company’s best interest to get its first smartglass customers to behave, as “breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers”.

To try and help Explorers avoid being glassholes and breaking social codes, Google has compiled a list of solid suggestions pulled from the experiences of early Glass adopters, and some of them are really quite funny.

Stop looking like a tech zombie

Glass was designed to avoid the need to stare down at a smartphone or device to get information, placing snippets of text just outside your field of vision, but that can have some pretty creepy consequences.

If you find yourself staring off into the prism for long periods of time you’re probably looking pretty weird to the people around you.

Google helpfully suggests that reading things like Tolstoy’s 1,225 pages of War and Peace probably isn’t the best idea, suggesting that “things like that are better done on bigger screens”.

Use some common sense

Google encourages Explorers to try Glass in all kinds of situations, but it would probably be best to avoid activities that could see wearers land on their faces.

Glass is a piece of technology, so use common sense. Water-skiing, bull-riding or cage-fighting with Glass are probably not good ideas.

At $1,500 (£900) a piece, Glass might be hi-tech but it is not exactly robust when it comes to high-impact sports.

Glass probably doesn’t contribute to a romantic meal

The idea of smartglasses being worn in public is new, and people are curious. Passersby will stop and stare, ask questions or maybe even react badly if you turn to face them, so Google helpfully suggests that taking Glass off might be the best idea.

If you’re worried about someone interrupting that romantic dinner at a nice restaurant with a question about Glass, just take it off and put it around the back of your neck or in your bag.

Of course, you also have the fact that your date might be creeped out that you have a head-mounted camera pointed at them all night, regardless of whether or not you are recording their every move.

Stop standing in the corner of the room being creepy

Apparently the temptation to record the every move of people going about their day is insatiable for some Glass Explorers. Google suggests that Glass wearers should treat the camera function like they would a mobile phone camera – ask permission and stop being creepy.

“Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends.”

Some people are pretty tetchy when it comes to being caught on camera, just ask the paparazzi.

Folic acid taken by less than third of women planning pregnancy.

Proportion heeding guidelines on B vitamin pre-pregnancy supplements falls despite advice on spina bifida risk
  • Mung beans and spinach dish
Mung beans and spinach are a source of vitamin B9 but experts advise women to take extra folate in supplements when planning a family.

Women are ignoring expert advice to take folic acid supplements beforepregnancy to protect their unborn children, a study has shown.

Researchers who questioned nearly 500,000 women attending antenatal clinics in England and the Isle of Man found that fewer than one in three took folic acid prior to becoming pregnant.

These omissions were despite strong evidence showing that most cases of spina bifida and other birth defects affecting the brain, spine or spinal cord, can be prevented by boosting levels of folate – vitamin B9 – before pregnancy.

The study showed that the proportion of women who heeded the guidelines when planning a family had actually fallen, from 35% between 1999 and 2001, to 31% from 2011 to 2012.

Even among women with previous experience of a pregnancy involving a neural tube birth defect, such as spina bifida, only just over half (51%) took the supplements.

Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs when the developing spinal column does not close properly, leaving nerves exposed. In most cases surgery can be carried out to repair the defect after birth, but often nerves have already been damaged leading to paralysis, incontinence and loss of skin sensation.

Among the known risk factors for spina bifida, the most important is a lack of folic acid before and at the very start of pregnancy.

The findings prompted calls for the introduction of mandatory folic acid fortification of flour in the UK, a policy already adopted in more than 70 countries, including the US and Australia.

Sir Nicholas Wald, from Queen Mary University of London, one of the study authors whose original work uncovered the protective effect of folic acid, said: “It’s a public health tragedy that, in spite of the folic acid fortification initiative in many countries, the UK has not introduced mandatory folic acid fortification. The failure to fortify flour with folic acid is like having a polio vaccine and not using it.”

The research, published in an online journal of the Public Library of Science, was conducted by a team from Queen Mary’s Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine between 1999 and 2012.

The research showed that more women took folic acid once they discovered they were pregnant, the proportion rising from 45% to 62% between the periods looked at in the study. But experts stress that to offer effective protection the supplements needed to be taken before pregnancy.

The study also showed strong ethnic variations, with only 17% of Afro-Caribbean women, 20% of south Asian women and 25% of east Asian women taking folic acid, compared with 35% of white Caucasian women.

Just 6% of teenagers under 20 attending the antenatal clinics had taken the supplements, while 40% of older women aged 35 to 39 followed the guidelines.

Jonathan Bestwick, co-author of the study, who is a lecturer in medical statistics at Queen Mary, said: “The current UK policy of recommending women take folic acid supplements has failed and has also led to health inequalities among ethnic minorities and younger women. The government should introduce mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid without delay.”

Joan Morris, a statistician at Queen Mary, said: “Each year in Britain there are about 1,000 pregnancies affected by spina bifida or other birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. Most of these lead to a termination of pregnancy, which is an agonising decision for couples who want a child.”

Jane Munro, from the Royal College of Midwives, said: “There is no doubt about the benefits of taking folic acid supplements for women who are planning to become pregnant. The RCM advises women to take supplements if they can.

“However, there is a need to ensure access to supplements for women who are unable to afford them, and to reach groups of women where taking these supplements is low.

“On the issue of adding folic acid to foodstuffs such as flour, we would stress the need for more discussion before such a step is taken because there will be people for whom additives will be unacceptable.”

Bumblebees hit by honeybee diseases

Bumblebees hit by honeybee diseases http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26242960

Posted from WordPress for Android

Lifestyle ‘link to miscarriage risk’

A pregnant woman

The lifestyles of 91,427 pregnant women in Denmark were analysed for the study
  • More than a quarter of first-time miscarriages could be prevented by making a combination of lifestyle changes, research in Denmark suggests.

Researchers said lifting more than 20kg (44lbs) each day during pregnancy and being obese or underweight increased the risk of miscarriage.

Women beyond their early 30s, who drank alcohol and worked night shifts during pregnancy were also more likely to miscarry, they said.

The study analysed 91,427 women.

“Start Quote

Twenty kilograms is the size of a large holiday suitcase. Most of us would only lift that very occasionally”

Caroline OvertonRoyal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

In the UK, more than one in seven pregnancies ends in miscarriage.

‘Subject for prevention’

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, which carried out the work, said only by reducing all of the risk factors could they be prevented.

The paper was published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen, senior researcher at the University of Copenhagen, said: “The main message from the paper is that miscarriages are a subject for prevention.”

Ms Nybo Andersen said the paper was significant as it showed the relative importance of different lifestyle factors in causing miscarriage, rather than more specific factors, such as certain pharmaceutical drugs.

As the findings were from the health perspective of a population, they could apply to lots of people – from individual couples to people in charge of maternity policies, work place regulations and supporting students who get pregnant, she said.

She added: “Everybody, young men and women, as well as those who have political responsibilities should bear in mind that postponing pregnancy to the mid-30s implies a seriously increased risk of miscarriage.”

Healthy-pregnancy advice

Pregnancies included in the Danish National Birth Cohort between 1996 and 2002 were analysed for the study. Researchers found 3.5% of the women miscarried.

They looked for links between the miscarriages and lifestyle by collecting data through computer-assisted telephone interviews.

Caroline Overton, spokesperson at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “This is a very interesting study in terms of the very large population size.”

She said it confirmed much of the advice currently given out in the UK to promote healthy pregnancy, such as not drinking, but questioned how applicable the study would be to British women.

On the subject of the findings, Ms Overton added: “Twenty kilograms is the size of a large holiday suitcase. Most of us would only lift that very occasionally.”

Women wanting to conceive should also eat a balanced diet, make sure they are not “too skinny”, or overweight, cut out smoking and ask their partners to follow suit, she said.

Bumblebees hit by honeybee diseases.

BumblebeeBumblebees are in steep decline around the world but now they face an additional threat

The beleaguered bumblebee faces a new threat, scientists say.

Researchers have found that two diseases harboured by honeybees are spilling over into wild bumblebees.

Insects infected with deformed wing virus and a fungal parasite calledNosema ceranae were found across England, Scotland and Wales.

Writing in the journal Nature, the team says that beekeepers should keep their honeybees as free from disease as possible to stop the spread.

“These pathogens are capable of infecting adult bumblebees and they seem to have quite significant impacts,” said Professor Mark Brown from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Around the world, bumblebees are doing badly.

In the last few decades, many species have suffered steep declines, and some, such Cullem’s bumblebee (Bombus cullumanus) in the UK, have gone extinct.

Scientists believe that the destruction of their habitats – particularly wildflower meadows – has driven much of this loss, but the latest research suggests that disease too could play a role.

honeybeesResearchers believe that honeybees are spreading diseases to bumblebees

The researchers looked at two pathogens commonly found in honeybees and found they can also infect adult bumblebees.

In honeybees, deformed wing virus (DWV) causes significant problems. Its severity seems to be exacerbated by the presence of another widespread parasite, the varroa mite, causing entire colonies to collapse.

Bumblebees do not carry the varroa mite, but the scientists found that those infected with DWV had a dramatically shortened lifespan. The fungal parasite has also been shown to have an impact on bumblebee longevity.

“Start Quote

The most likely explanation is that the honeybees are acting as the source of the virus for the bumblebees”

Prof Mark BrownRoyal Holloway, University of London

Prof Brown said: “A significantly shorter lifespan in the field would impact on their ability to go out and collect food and look after other bees.”

The researchers found the diseases were already prevalent among wild populations.

Looking at 26 sites across Great Britain and the Isle of Man, the researchers found that about 11% of bumblebees were infected with DWV and 7% were infected with the fungus. By comparison, about 35% of honeybees carried DWV and 9% had the fungus.

“A geographical patterning provides us with the information that transmission is occurring among these animals – they are sharing parasite strains,” said Prof Brown.

“We cannot say it definitively, but because of the epidemiology, the most likely explanation is that the honeybees are acting as the source of the virus for the bumblebees.”

The team suspects that the same pattern will also be found around the world – and says that controlling disease in honeybee hives is vital to stopping the spread.

“We have to, at national and international levels, support management policies that enable our beekeepers to keep their bees as free of diseases as possible,” Prof Brown said.

“The benefits are not just to the honeybees, they are to the wild bees as well.”

Dr David Aston, president of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), said: “By employing good husbandry practices, beekeepers can take steps to reduce the impact of pests and diseases on honeybee colonies using biotechnical controls and practices such as apiary hygiene, regular brood comb changes, ensuring the colonies are strong and well-nourished and the use of authorised treatments.”

But he added: “Beekeepers need new effective medications and other biotechnical controls to help in the management of bee pests and diseases and these should be a high-priority action.”

Honeybee and bumblebeeThe team thinks the diseases are transmitted when the insects visit the same flowers

The researchers also want to investigate whether neonicotinoid pesticides are playing a role in problem.

A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal suggested that the chemicals are affecting the immune systems of honeybees, making them more susceptible to pathogens.

“If bumblebees were exposed to neonicotinoids and had the same effect, you would expect the bumblebee viral load to be going through the roof. This is something we are hoping to test later,” said Prof Brown.

In the European Union, neonicotinoids have been banned for two years because of fears that they may be harmful to bees. But the British government strongly opposed the plan, rejecting the science behind the moratorium. Both Syngenta and Bayer, which manufacture neonicotinoids, are now taking legal action against the European Commission in an effort to overturn the ban.

Do vaccines really need to be kept cold?

Smiling young woman gets an injection in her upper arm from a seated health worker.

A new study found vaccine against meningitis A remained viable even though it wasn’t constantly refrigerated. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

Maintaining the cold chain—a system to protect lifesaving vaccines from exposure to heat—has been a longstanding challenge to the success of vaccination campaigns, especially in remote, hard-to-reach areas where refrigeration isn’t a given.

Until now.

Two health workers in white uniforms stand behind a table holding a vaccine carrier and boxes of syringes.

Health workers, like these preparing for a meningitis A vaccination campaign, spend vast amounts of time keeping vaccines within a cool temperature range. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

The first mass vaccination campaign conducted in Africa with a vaccine that doesn’t require constant refrigeration provided complete coverage with MenAfriVac® vaccine. The vaccine was kept outside of the cold chain for up to four days and stayed viable even in temperatures up to 102°F (39°C), according to a study published online today in the journal Vaccine.

A vaccine breakthrough

Conducted as part of a ten-day meningitis A vaccination campaign in Benin in November 2012, the study represents a breakthrough not only for MenAfriVac®, but potentially for increasing the efficiency, coverage, and affordability of other vaccines. The approach could significantly reduce the workloads of health workers, who spend vast amounts of time ensuring that vaccines are kept cold, the study found. It could also extend vaccines to areas that are so far removed from access to electricity they could never be reached by the cold chain.


Since this video telling the story of MenAfriVac® was made, 151 million people been vaccinated, and some 250 million are expected to have received the vaccine by the end of 2014.

In addition, a separate study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization on the economic benefits of this approach found that the costs of administering the MenAfriVac® vaccine could drop by 50 percent.

PATH’s pioneering role

The MenAfriVac® vaccine was developed through the Meningitis Vaccine Project, a partnership between PATH and the World Health Organization. It used a unique vaccine development model that aimed at providing an effective, affordable, and long-term solution to epidemic meningitis in the African meningitis belt, a large area that stretches across the continent from Senegal to Ethiopia. Over the past century, hundreds of thousands of people were killed or permanently disabled by the cyclical epidemics of meningitis A, many of them children or young adults.

“Findings from these new studies show that it is possible to deliver vaccines more conveniently and at a lower cost when refrigeration is not needed every step of the way,” said Dr. David C. Kaslow, vice president of Product Development at PATH. “MenAfriVac® is helping to show a less expensive, simpler, and more convenient way for other current and future lifesaving vaccines to get to the hardest to reach people in need.”

Lab reopens with $2 million worth of simulation models, virtual reality simulators.

Guests at the reopening of the remodeled Surgical Simulation Center in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery had an opportunity for a little “hands on” experience Feb. 11 as they experimented with some of the new simulators that will be used to teach basic surgical skills.

The Simbionix lap mentor II offers the opportunity to practice a laparoscopic cholecystectomy technique in the newly revamped simulation lab in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery.

The Simbionix lap mentor II offers the opportunity to practice a laparoscopic cholecystectomy technique in the newly revamped simulation lab in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery.

An impressive virtual environment, the Sim lab enables trainees to learn at their own pace and practice innovative and cutting-edge minimally invasive surgical techniques. The lab also offers continuing medical education to practicing surgeons as well as laboratory support for CME organizations and the biomedical industry.

Virtual reality simulators allow for our students and doctors to practice surgical procedures.

Virtual reality simulators allow our students and doctors to practice surgical procedures.

Baylor students, residents, fellows, and faculty members from several departments, including surgery, medicine, anesthesiology, and orthopedics will make use of the facilities.

Dr. Paul Klotman, president and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine, cut the ribbon that separated the two training rooms that have been revamped with $2 million worth of simulation models and virtual reality simulators. Department Chair Dr. Todd Rosengart pointed out that the space was no stranger to innovation. Portions of it are part of the former site of Dr. DeBakey’s experimental surgery laboratory.